Terry Rescues Mavs in Win Over Blazers
Dallas 93, Portland 87
DALLAS, March 7 (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks may not have treated it like a big game, but Jason Terry did.
Terry scored 11 of his 26 points in the last five minutes as the Mavericks scrambled to avoid a stunning defeat and rallied for a 93-87 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
"I don't know what I'm going to have to do to get this team charged up," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "But I'm willing to do anything. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get us going. I'll run around the track, I'll bench press, whatever you want me to do. I'm open for suggestions, because I couldn't even talk to my team at halftime tonight.
"It's going to come from within this team," Terry said. "Myself, Dirk, Stackhouse, the leaders of this team are going to make sure that it gets done. That's the challenge right now, so the next time we are faced with a challenge, we'll respond and we'll respond well."
Five days ago, the Mavericks (47-13) suffered a heavily hyped loss at San Antonio that left both teams tied at the top of the Southwest Division. One night later, Dallas looked lethargic in a home win over Charlotte, one of the league's lesser teams.
On Sunday, the Mavericks squandered a double-digit lead in the second half of a loss to Phoenix, which leads the Pacific Division. The setback ended a club-record 16-game home winning streak.
"Three games in four days, playing teams below .500, above .500, it really doesn't matter at this point," Johnson said. "Everybody's got schedule stuff. The schedule is not a problem. We haven't played well since the All-Star break, all right? We have not played well since the All-Star break."
"Our veteran guys have to step up," Stackhouse said. "Our younger guys, we can't expect them to be there yet. As talented and as good as they are, we can't expect them to create their energy and their enthusiasm. Sometimes you've got to force it out of them and I think that's what Avery wants to see happen and that's what we've just got to do. Quite frankly, we haven't been doing as good a job as we need to be."
Still licking its wounds, Dallas missed its first nine shots Tuesday against punchless Portland (19-41), which has the worst record in the Western Conference. The Mavericks faced a 43-37 halftime deficit and did not lead until midway through the final period.
"We definitely need to feel a sense of urgency, especially in that first quarter," Terry said. "That's where we got down tonight and it made it kind of tough. It gives the other team confidence. Once they get out on us 10-1 or whatever it was, they feel very confident and their shots start to fall and you've got no defense for that. We've got to get a better start."
Two free throws by Nowitzki provided a 72-71 edge with 5:24 left before Terry took over, scoring Dallas' next nine points. He beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer, sank a jumper and drained two free throws for a 79-75 lead with 3:29 remaining.
"The ball was in my hands at the time. I just had to get it done," Terry said. "A couple of times it was at the end of the shot clock, guys kicked it to me and I was able to knock it down. We needed it and we answered the bell."
Terry hit another jumper to snap a 79-79 tie with 1:40 to play. Zach Randolph tied it with an inside hoop, but two free throws by Devin Harris gave the Mavericks the lead for good at 83-81 with 1:19 left.
"We were in the game," Randolph said. "They hit big shots. Jason Terry hit a lot of clutch shots, contested shots, and hurt us."
Portland's Steve Blake missed a 3-pointer and Stackhouse delivered a dagger behind from the arc. Harris came up with a steal that led to Terry's two free throws and an 88-81 advantage with 35 seconds to go.
"(Blake) kind of gave it away with the way he was leaning," Harris said. "I was able to get a hand on it and tip it away."
Harris returned after missing four games and provided a spark with 13 points, four assists and two steals off the bench. In the third quarter, he tried to save a ball going out of bounds and crashed into a middle-aged woman, bloodying her nose.
"I've got to send her something," Harris said. "I think I may have broken some part of her face. I felt bad. I thought I hit the man next to her that I grabbed, but I didn't see her."
The Mavericks overcame 39 percent (29-of-75) shooting by making 29-of-32 free throws and holding a 43-36 advantage on the glass.
Randolph scored 33 points and Juan Dixon added 17 for the Trail Blazers, who have lost three in a row and nine of 10. They host Dallas on Thursday.
"It was really disappointing," Randolph said. "We played hard tonight. We had a couple of defensive breakdowns towards the end. We didn't execute. We got good shots and good looks at the basket. We missed a lot of free throws (11). We could have won the game. We gave ourselves a chance."